Just the other day I was talking with a teacher friend of mine who was telling me about the discussion she had with her elementary school level class about genetics. The conversation turned to the intricacies of the human genome, the tiny machines that run our inner world and the fact that everything has a genetic code contained in its chromosomes. And, not only that, but not everything has the same number of chromosomes.
Did you know that human beings typically have 46 chromosomes while a goldfish has from 100 to 104? I didn’t know that about the goldfish, and neither did one of the girls in my friends class who raised her hand and asked the question of the day.
“Do you mean the goldfish you eat?” she asked.
My friend had the same thought when the question was asked that I had when she told me the story, the ultra-surprised reaction of ‘she eats goldfish? Do people actually eat goldfish?’ I mean who eats goldfish except people who are trying to win a bet or something?
Then my friend told me the realization hit her that her student was talking about the little goldfish crackers you buy from the store and eat.
So, this got me thinking about what we hear, what we think it means and how we react to it. My friend and I thought the exact same thing when we heard that her student ate goldfish, we thought live goldfish ‘raw and wriggling’ as Gollum from the Lord of the Rings fame would say, but her student actually meant crackers.
Now, if this was something besides what it was, harmless, that miscommunication could take on a life of its own and turn into something that it wasn’t, which is what we do sometimes isn’t it? We make an assumption based on what we hear and instead of clarifying what the person actually means, we just go with what we think it means which could get us in a lot of trouble.
And, we could apply that to every area of our life, including scripture or what we think God is saying to us or what we think He may be saying to someone else. Instead of just stepping back, keeping our mouths shut and asking God to clarify things, we just go with it, sometimes making a hash of things in the process.
Because let’s face it, what we hear, what’s actually being said and how we should react are sometimes very different things, and at the end of the day only God can sort them out for us.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”